LONDON – As the country’s busiest airports receive more foreign passengers, the Thai state touts infrastructure upgrades.
As the country approaches its high season or the 4 quarter, which begins on the first of October.
The Government of Thailand now realizes the need to push for expansion plans is to be set on full steam as tourist inflows to the country are expected to reach over 10 million this year.
This means that airport expansion plans at major Thai airports are being fast-tracked. These plans have been put on the back burner for years due to covid.
The Kingdom’s goal to become the aviation hub in the region isn’t possible without expansion plans. With the facilities being expanded, this will elevate the country’s competitiveness in terms of air travel.
Smaller regional airports are also not left behind. Airports like Krabi Airport in the southern part o the country are also being expanded. Khon Kaen Airport in the country’s northeast will expand to accommodate travelers to the region.
Mae Sot Airport was also tapped for further expansion to facilitate cross-border trade between Thailand and neighboring Myanmar.
The country’s latest airport, Betong Airport near the Malaysian border, is meant to facilitate travel for passengers living near the Thai-Malaysian border.
BKK Airport – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
The country’s largest airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, will be the main focus of the government, as it is the gateway to the Kingdom.
The latest round of expansion plans will now be able to accommodate up to 120 million passengers per annum.
With the current infrastructure, the airport can only take in 45 million people per year, which is close to the number of inbound tourists number which entered the country in 2019.
One of the expansion plans will include the expansion from 51 to 79 gates, with the construction of the satellite terminal.
The satellite is expected to be completed by the end of this calendar year, but doubt still looms over the deadline, along with a third runway being built on the western part of the airport.
Not yet constructed, is also a plan to build 348,000 square meters of the passenger terminal in the northern part of the airport, which runs adjacent to the airport’s main terminal building.
This project is slated for a start in January of next year (2023) and is to be completed in mid-2025. In addition to the northern terminal, the airport will also expand the main terminal building towards the east, adding an extra 66,000 square meters in the next years. Future plans to add expansion towards the western wings are also studied.
DMK – Don Mueang International Airport
This airport is Bangkok’s secondary or executive airport located in the northern part of the capital city.
The airport is also prepping its team to expand its airside capabilities.
Don Mueang airport’s new plans claim that it can accommodate an additional 18 million passengers from 30 million passengers per year with the current infrastructure in place.
The new expansion will have 12 new gates for flights docking at the brand new third terminal, which will cover 155,000 square meters of space.
As tourism in Thailand begins to increase post-COVID, the country is going to need the infrastructure to ensure that it can handle the high demand moving forward.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether these plans develop, and how much investment it will represent from the Thai state.
But for now, all we can do is sit back and wait to see what happens.